A Daughter’s Lesson

by | Oct 4, 2018 | Aging Parents, Loss and Grief | 10 comments

Dear Mom and Dad,

I get it.  I freakin’ get it! It took me a while but I finally think I know what you meant when many moons ago, in a heated moment, when you told me, “One day, you will understand.” Wait.  Understand what?  You never answered me but those words remained echoing inside of me through the years and all the life changes.

Until now. Being in the throes of having  teenage daughter and seeing her caught between being a little girl and being a woman, has opened my eyes to all you went through watching me go through the same process.  It’s such a hard process, a painful one, but an important one. Let me see if I can explain.

I have a teenage daughter who is strong-willed and thinks she knows best. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is fun-loving but needs to be circled back and reminded that her educational journey is just as important as her social journey. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who says things she regrets and needs to be told to check herself. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who loves deeply and hurts deeply. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who needs her space but also needs her momma’s unconditional love, and sometimes is confused over which one she needs more. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is fiercely independent and not afraid to speak her mind, even when she should probably zip it. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who makes mistakes, uses the wrong tone and can be way too sassy at all the wrong times. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who can be happy one minute, sad the next and then happy again all thanks to the magic of hormones. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is competitive, spirited and hates to lose. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who loves to be involved and help out everywhere…except at home. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is so fearless and yet so fearful. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who finds her mom annoying and her dad’s corny jokes not funny anymore and sees both of her parents as the most embarrassing people on the planet.  And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who will defend her friends to the death, even if they are wrong. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who has a soft spot in her heart for animals and would turn our house into a farm if allowed to.  And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who feels empowered in so many areas of her life but also feels so insecure and so uncertain. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who loves her family but sometimes does a terrible job of relaying this love. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who tells her parents that they are too strict and over-protective. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who pushes the boundaries because she is trying to find herself and her voice. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who asks for advice and then doesn’t use it. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is trying to find her way, figure life out, hold her ground and become her own person. And so did you.

I have a teenage daughter who is adored, loved and treasured. And so did you.

See, I do get it.  I finally know exactly what you were talking about. While my daughter isn’t me, she is part of me. And while I am not you,  I am part of you.  Parenting her allows me to experience what you experienced. The good, the bad and the ugly.

I know there were times I was a complete basket case as a teenager (I’m sorry!!) and you had every right to kick me to the curb, but you never did. Thank you for the grace you showed when I made mistakes or did something dumb, and for sticking by me, being patient through the times I tried to push you away and for never giving up on me. Thank you for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for loving me when I didn’t love myself. Thank you for giving me a swift kick in the ass when I needed it and for holding me accountable for my behavior.  Those things that often got me in trouble, and the painful lessons I learned along the way, are the same things that have made me the strong woman I am today.

I get it. I finally understand that you can be so incredibly frustrated with someone, yet love them more than life itself.  I finally understand that a parent’s love has no boundaries or borders– it is selfless, unconditional and forgiving.  I finally get that being a parent is the hardest job ever and the brief moments of tenderness or appreciation—however small they might be—make it all worthwhile.  I finally get that you didn’t want to be my best friend growing up, you wanted to be my parent. And it was impossible to be both. I finally get that saying no was so much harder than saying yes, but you cared enough to say no.  I finally get that when we fought, it was because you were fighting for me to become the best version of myself, even when I didn’t know there was a best version possible.  I finally get that you allowed me to become my own person even if it meant I had to pull away from you.  I finally get that you weren’t a perfect parent but your love for me was totally perfect. 

I get it now.  I understand that it was hard, but that you were stronger and so was your love for me.  I get it in my core and I pray that my precious teenage daughter will one day, understand it all too.

Love you so much!

Your Grateful and Appreciative Daughter

10 Comments

  1. Pat

    Oh Kel you hit this one right on the nail. Two daughters would say the same thing.

    Reply
  2. Laura

    So true. Great article. Love ya!

    Reply
  3. Maureen

    You nailed it again!!! I wonder if I could get my dad to read this.

    Reply
  4. Jeanne Smith

    Great read Kel! Annie will be getting a copy!

    Reply
  5. Tina

    Well said my friend well said! You will make it through high school and you rock as a mom!

    Reply
  6. Katie

    That was awesome and so true. Well written and from the heart sister. Thank you Mom, Pat. Love you

    Reply
  7. Tamara

    Such a great read. This was my daughter and I for sure and now that she is 20; she has shown me all of those hard moments were worth every second. She is amazingly wonderful, funny, still sassy and all I’ve ever hoped she would and could be. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  8. Ann

    Absolutely spot on! LOVE your blog!!!

    Reply
  9. Jane Yost

    Spot on, Kelli. Your column brought me to tears. It captures the challenges, stories, truths, and feelings of moms and daughters. I miss my mom, AND my daughter!

    Reply
  10. Janet

    So wonderful Kel!! My parents often said “I don’t always like you, but I will always love you”. It hurt sometimes, but I really get it now. And as a mom of boys, i can say that so much of what you said applies there too. I’m so grateful to go through these years with you my friend!!

    Reply

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